A black Fomes fomentarius
The same friend RE who kindly took me to Annersley Wood, Nottinghamshire and had the pleasure of seeing exposed mycelium on a dead log, also witnessed the same day, as did I, another special sight.
This being an exceedingly shiny black hoof-shaped bracket. It was solitary, looked artificial and as though it had been stuck on a silver birch tree as a joke. I tapped it expecting it to break off, but it was solid and resembled a shiny piece of highly lacquered plastic. I'd never seen anything like this.
When back home I did some research and it seems that Fomes fomentarius can turn dark black when exposed to very prolonged wet and cold weather such as was the case during the Winter of 2013. Some of the darker fruit bodies were previous referred to as Fomes nigricans but more recently fall under fomentarius.
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